Make Your Own Storybook Walk with Teens–Milford Youth Center

DSC08104

Greating ready to head out at the MilfordYouth Center

We have been hosting Make Your Own Storybook walks since last January, and I keep being surprised at how much fun participants have, regardless of their age or ability. We have had grandparents, babes in arms, (well, backpack carriers), little ones who have not yet learned to read, and school age children as well. We  have had adults of varying abilities, parents juggling several children, and my buddies who are visually impaired (or VIPs–Visually Impaired Person as they prefer to be referred to).

In the midst of all this variety, and having offered the program at different locations, I hadn’t quite realized the common theme; if there is a dead or dying fish on the scene, it’s going to end up in many if not most of the stories that are shared that day.

DSC08098

Liz shows her trainees some details to remember when filming

We headed over to the Upper Charles River watershed recently to join up with the elementary, middle school and high school aged students who participate in the Milford Youth Center’s after school activities. We got great support from their staff, who have a lot of experience getting the kids outside. But this was their first time offering our Make Your Own Storybook walk.” We partnered not only with the Milford Youth Center, but with Milford Community TV as well. Video editor Liz Harkins brought along an entire suite of equipment, and worked with the Youth Leadership kids to train them on the video equipment and she put them right to work filming our event. “You’re hitting the ground running,” Liz warned her trainees. They listened hard, paid attention, and remained cool and calm even when things went wrong, like when I disconnected my mic from the transponder. Did I mention that Liz is an amazing video editor as well?

The biggest challenge of the day for me was the temperature, which was in the high 80s, unseasonably warm for mid-May.

DSC08106

Taking a break in the sunshine next to the river

When you see the video, you may notice me looking somewhat sweaty. I used my spray bottle to keep me cooled down with water the entire walk. And thankfully, it mostly worked. Sometimes I do wonder what drives me…

DSC08105

Checking out the Upper Charles River

The concept of these events is simple–take a walk, pay attention to what you see, hear, smell, feel, and observe in general, then come back and write about it. We threw in an extra challenge for the kids during this event and brought a supply of trash bags in case we found trash along the way that we could pick up. Only a few kids really got into that part of the program, but those who did were focused and determined. It was great to see their youthful energy concentrated on making their neighborhood better.

DSC08110

Standing on the bridge, which is actually a dam, and getting some background shots in for future editing

It was a short walk from the Youth Center on Pearl Street, almost directly across the street from Milford’s town hall, down to Granite Street, where we crossed the Upper Charles Trail and headed over to the pond, which is part of the Upper Charles River.

DSC08107

A gorgeous day to be outside at the Upper Charles River

The small bridge we stood on is actually a dam, but it took the kids a while to figure out why the water levels on each side of the bridge were so different.

DSC08109

Looking for just the right shot on a crowded bridge overlooking the river

It may be I simply didn’t ask the right questions.

Fish

The star of the show–the dead fish

But it could also have been that a whole lot of energy was taken up with the dead fish on the bridge. Yup, if there is a dead fish in the neighborhood, it’s going to get top billing. I completely missed the significance at the time. But I will be better prepared when more dead fish work their way into our events. As it was, I had to track down a picture from other folks who had been more focused than me. But next time–I WILL get a picture of the fish….

DSC08112

Learning the finer points of getting the camera into the trash bag to make the shot of trash getting tossed into the bag

It was fun watching the kids with the cameras to see what they were recording. Liz accompanied us and coached them the whole way, and it was intriguing to see how she worked with her trainees as well.  Liz demonstrated how to place the camera inside the trash bag to get a shot of trash falling into the bag. Not as easy as it sounds.

DSC08113

MOre background tape–flowers and ants as a bonus!

I spotted another camera person absorbed in recording a blooming azalea. She got more excited when she realized there were ants crawling amongst the flowers and she kept filming the ants as they worked to offer some pollinating assistance.

DSC08117

Getting to work on their stories

Back at the Youth Center, we got kids inside sitting down at tables, and handed them paper, writing implements, and colored pencils. Many simply enjoyed creating scenes from our walk. A few made a simple story. And yes, the stories almost without exception included a fish.

DSC08118

More training on conducting an interview for video

Many thanks to everyone who worked hard to make this program possible. The kids were great, the Youth Center staff were terrific, and Liz and everyone at the Cable station in Milford went over and above to help make this happen. Till next time–happy trails!

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! Marjorie is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

http://tinyurl.com/MTH-More-easy-walks

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Paddles-River-Watershed/dp/1985377012

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks, Personal History- first person interviews and published excerpts

One response to “Make Your Own Storybook Walk with Teens–Milford Youth Center

  1. Pingback: MYC Youth Council Updates!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.